Of confidence

The source from which confidence stems seems to elude me. Do we feel confident of ourselves because a culmination of experience has mended our disposition such, or do we feel confident simply because it is a dictate of our primordial nature?

Just as health becomes a dialectic only in the face of illness, so also does confidence become more tangible and definitive only when one suffers a lack of it. Therefore, in order to have a greater grasp of what confidence truly means, we must first understand what it means to be without confidence.

To lack confidence is to be unsure of ourselves, of the actions we make and the words we speak. We lack confidence when we are more inclined to believe in the rightness of others than in ourselves. There are a plethora of reasons responsible for this etiolation of esteem, this enfeeblement of will and shackling of body. It could be that a person is aware of his inferiority as he stands a mendicant among the lofty, and hence forces himself into silence, fearing that should he express himself, he would be immediately ridiculed for all his measured inadequacies. It could be that a person is so different from the rest, and is so conscious of this dreadful difference that he cannot be convinced of any form of acceptance others might possibly extend to him. It could also be that he has been mocked before for speaking aloud or for acting in ways people found eccentric, and insomuch as to leave a huge depression on his pride that now, whenever he wishes to speak or act, he fumbles in hesitation.

If all that is true, then to be confident must surely be the contrary – that is, to protrude from the common height, or the very least be not hunched in any unsightly manner, and finally, to be free of psychological impediments. It follows then that confidence is derived from comparisons, from measurements of a self against the many rules of world. And if we do measure up to all the rest, and have no reason to fear isolation or reprisal, then we shall have mustered confidence. It would seem thus that confidence is created more through experience than anything.

But of course, there can be no blunt discounting of how confidence might well be a product of solely our nature. That naturally begs the question: can a person then be confident of himself without ever having made comparisons to others? That is, can he feel confident by solely being so sure of himself that he requires no worldly standards to guide his own conclusions? Similarly, can that person remain in that impregnable confidence even when everyone, displeased, continually chides and derides him? If that be the case, then his confidence must unquestionably stem from an obscured within that only nature has the answer to. But such is hardly the case. When we do get intentionally ridiculed at, we retreat slightly into reticence, the certainty in our words or actions is diminished, and we are left without confidence.

How quite convincing does it seem that at the heart of confidence lies comparison; that we are confident only because in observing others, we have realized our place in the world, and henceforth proceed to vanquish all fears of allowing our words and actions to tread the arbitrary unknown.